Then sophomores Alex Joiner, Jorge Martinez-Blat, Nick Peterson and Justin Bucher, who lived in the suite, had been playing music with their friend Quinton Grady, but neighbors complained of the noise so many times that they had to move their project into the suite bathroom, which they named the SkyCloud.
Now, two years later and all seniors, the group has adopted the bathroom’s nickname as their official name, and SkyCloud will release its first EP on May 7.
“The funny thing was that we never really tried to make it a thing,” said Joiner, a communications studies major, guitarist and the self-declared band master and commander.
“It was just like ... ‘Oh wait, the people below us hate the music that we’re playing, let’s go play in the bathroom.’”
Junior year the group started practicing more seriously when two of the members lived in a house in Carrboro.
“The developments of the songs as a whole have come a long way since we first wrote them,” said Martinez-Blat, a biomedical engineering major and the bass guitarist.
“We’ll play jams, and this goes on for months at a time ... So it kind of like matures the more we jam on it.”
Joiner said the group started recording its music when he began an independent study in audio production in the fall. He said he enjoyed it so much that he continued into the spring to finish the six-song EP. But the past year hasn’t been easy, because recording is new for this group of perfectionists.
“When we’re jamming what really matters is the entirety of the sound — just the jam that matters,” said Grady, an environmental studies major and the band’s vocalist. “But it’s so different when you’re recording and having to hear every single part, isolated.”
The band said they hope all the hard work comes out in the quality of the songs, which they say captures a wide array of genres with an Americana focus.
“Our funnest song to play is ‘Collector Man,’ because that’s very energy intensive,” said Bucher, a geography major and the band’s guitarist. “But my personal favorite song in terms of lyrical content is ‘Stones’ because it kind of speaks to (my and Quinton’s) existential breakdown sophomore year. But there’s a silver lining to it.”
Joiner said the album also features a funny outtake of when the band spent a long day in the recording studio, and Grady described it as a very honest window into the band.
“It’s really frustrating, and tensions will sometimes run high,” Joiner said.
“So, in one of the songs, you can hear it at the beginning of ‘Stones,’ Justin is like, ‘Quit getting in my light, dude!’ And Quinton’s like, ‘Oh, sorry man, I’m just going to move the light,’ and Justin’s like, ‘OK, move the light,’ and then they just go into this beautiful song with a harmony and singing and that was the best take we had.”
SkyCloud played its first show at The Station’s Open Mic Night on April 14, where it received a standing ovation and request for an encore. Though the band doesn’t have any money, they are going to put the album up online for free and will continue to play free shows across the Triangle throughout the summer.
“What makes our band so great is that we didn’t come together without knowing each other and decide to make a band,” Bucher said.
“We made a band because we were friends, and we all just happened to play music.”